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JBL Stage 135C Review (Center Speaker)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 165 88.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 20 10.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    186

sweetchaos

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Would you consider a 3-way concentric design like the KEF R2c the best approach (at least on paper)?
Kef R2c is the best speaker measured so far for 3-way coaxial (not 3-way traditional).
We know how well it performs, because Erin measured it.
SPL%20Horizontal%20IsoBand.jpg

SPL%20Vertical%20IsoBand.jpg

Other 3-way coaxials:
- Elac Uni-Fi Reference UCR52 (3-way, coaxial) were not recommended by Amir (at least out of the box, with no EQ).
- Pioneer Elite SP-EC73 (3-way, coaxial) were not recommended by Amir (at least out of the box, with no EQ).

There's a few others 3-way coaxial centers, like Kef Qx50C series that we haven't seen measurements for, so the jury is still out on that.
 

beaRA

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About the comb filtering, wouldn't this be the same for any 2-channel music system then? At which point you'd say that 2-channel is not even optimal for plain old music listening? Thing is though, I know my speakers measure fine at my listening position when both are playing, so I know the mids & treble are not messed up, so I guess I don't have a comb filtering problem.
Yes, exactly. Crosstalk is a fundamental limitation of any stereo presentation. There are a number of reasons why this does NOT ruin the stereo illusion, which is why I agree with you that a center channel is not critical for a single listener in the sweet spot.

 

dfuller

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sarumbear

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Flat FR on axis is quite important to me. I guess when watching movies, I simply do not find it bothersome "Enough" to cause me to be upset or let down feeling.
The thing is the person sitting on either side of you is not getting a flat FR. Why do you think flat FR should be important for you but not to others? After all the term has the word “theatre” in it, it is not a solitary experience.
 

Robbo99999

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Yes, exactly. Crosstalk is a fundamental limitation of any stereo presentation. There are a number of reasons why this does NOT ruin the stereo illusion, which is why I agree with you that a center channel is not critical for a single listener in the sweet spot.

Seems reasonable, looks like phantom centre is fine overall. Like you said, it's probably more important for off-axis movie viewing....and again like we both said you'd want a good horizontal directivity on that centre speaker to get the best out of it in that situation.....it's a tough world for centre speakers!
 

sarumbear

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Seems reasonable, looks like phantom centre is fine overall.
Do you realise that phantom image only exists at dead centre of LR speakers? There is no phantom centre when you are off-axis.
 

Robbo99999

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Do you realise that phantom image is only true for dead centre? There is no phantom centre when you are off-axis.
Yes, I'm aware that's the optimal position for it. I did a super quick test with my two JBL 308p's, and it stays pretty strong in the other positions on the couch, perhaps it's because these speakers have very good horizontal directivity?
 

Robbo99999

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Newman

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Your personal 2-second test is not a definitive conclusion on the merits of a speaker layout. So I suggest don't post a comment that reads like one.
 
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Robbo99999

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Your personal 2-second test is not a definitive conclusion on the merits of a speaker layout. So don't post a comment that reads like one.
Sure thing boss, I'll post what I like thanks. I'll get back to some off axis movie watching then! Naa, I'll stay on-axis. :D
 

Sancus

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This is the perspective ASR members need to keep in mind. Even with poor off-axis tonality, the A135C will do the job to anchor the center image to the screen. The narrow horizontal dispersion bothers me to the point that I would never purchase this product, but that just means I'm not the customer.

I don't know. It's easy to say "well a normal person will never notice this stuff", and it's true that they won't be able to EXPLAIN the problem, but... complaints about center channels and poor/unintelligible dialogue are the #1 complaint about home theatres that I've heard. And while it is sometimes the mix that is at fault, a lot of the time even known "poor mixes" like basically everything Christopher Nolan puts out, are mostly fine with a great center, even in very difficult rooms.

I generally steer friends towards the 3-way and coaxial(Kef) centers, which are available for reasonable prices. It's the main source of audio after all.
 

sarumbear

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Sure thing boss, I'll post what I like thanks. I'll get back to some off axis movie watching then! Naa, I'll stay on-axis. :D
You have every right to listen how you want. However, remember that you are arguing a part of the surround standard that has been in use for decades and every movie made since is processed accordingly. The chances of you being right is pretty slim.
 

HooStat

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The KEF bookshelf speakers also work great as centers. I picked up a Q100 pair for $140 (used) and use one as a center. So it is possible to get a decent speaker for center channel use relatively inexpensively. Sometimes accessories4less sells single units of the Q150 (and maybe the Q350) and the LS50. So there are options.
 

wisechoice

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Those are neither cheap nor 10 cm high ;) The Revel is 3x as high. Price-wise the Emotiva is close though. Definitely interesting to see what it would do.

Why not just get Neumann KH 80 DSP? It's small and good and doesn't cost that much (obviously more than the JBL). Doesn't get very loud though. But it would even work pretty well on its side, there is just a small directivity error at 2 kHz.

I'm using the KH80 as a centre speaker and while it's great in vertical orientation, I can confirm that when placed on its side, the tonality shifts in ways that are not too pleasant for someone sitting a few feet away, especially if you shift a little to the right or left. I was curious and tried this when I first set it up, because a horizontal orientation might have looked a little better in my TV cabinet. I'm still trying to quiet my desire for the KH310 to replace it, even though it sounds really good with a sub (I'm using the Genelec 7050c, which is a bass-managed 5.1 model).
 

ctrl

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A d'Appolito design on its side will always create a narrow horisontal dispersion.
...
All
my comments are on 2-way centre speakers as this thread is about a 2-way centre speaker.
Theoretically it works when using a small fullrange driver (Peerless ANC-50N25AL04-04), so to speak, a cone tweeter with low frequency response and two 4'' woofer.
Then you can shift the inter driver interference over the crossover frequency of the "tweeter".

If the small fullrange driver can be used from 600Hz, there is no problem with horizontal MTM alignment, regarding the horizontal radiation.
Thus, at +-50° there is no inter driver interference in the frequency range of the woofers (when the crossover frequency is about 600Hz).
(You have to imagine it rotated 90°)
1638225170695.png

If the center speaker only has to radiate evenly up to +-10°-15° in the vertical direction, you can also stack two small full-range drivers vertically to increase the power handling capacity of the center speaker.
 

Tonygeno

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Did Amir really need to review this speaker to find out it was crap? The horizontal 2-way configuration is a loser out of the the shoot. I do not understand why manufacturers make this type of speaker, other than to sell to folks with no understanding of speaker design and dispersion characteristics. If you're going to sit dead center (which is the only place a speaker like this works) do you really need a center channel?
 

alex-z

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Did Amir really need to review this speaker to find out it was crap? The horizontal 2-way configuration is a loser out of the the shoot. I do not understand why manufacturers make this type of speaker, other than to sell to folks with no understanding of speaker design and dispersion characteristics. If you're going to sit dead center (which is the only place a speaker like this works) do you really need a center channel?

Folks with no understanding of dispersion characteristics includes 99.99% of people. Amir doesn't need to review most of the things he does, but doing so helps the people who just want to spend their money wisely. Same way the average person doesn't know how to tune suspension on a car, but still wants something that rides well.
 

More Dynamics Please

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I just asked a question about phantom centers in another thread (link below) and would appreciate any input there from those who've discussed that subject here.

 
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